As the current Harrisburg High School students and staff get ready to end the 2019-2020 school year, they also prepare for the incoming freshmen. Starting this forthcoming 2020-2021 school year, the Freshman Academy will open for the large class of 425 incoming students. The 2020 graduating class of seniors consists of 220 students, whereas the incoming class is nearly double. Encompassing this new year, the two freshmen counselors, Ms. Steinberg and Ms. Hebig, have estimated that around 50% of the incoming freshmen are traditional learners and the other 50% chose customized learning.
Recently, two eighth grade English teachers from both North and South Middle School received a survey; then, their students anonymously answered questions about their preparation for the Freshman Academy. When asked about the benefits of the new Freshman Academy, one student answered, “We will be able to get into the high school feeling and flow without having to be right in with the seniors. Also, there will be more space for the big class size.” On the other hand, students also expressed concerns about not having people to look up to as well as relearning a new area of the high school building their sophomore year. When thinking about balancing schoolwork, extracurriculars, family, friends, and the classes/credits required to graduate, electives are important. In response to the survey, most students seemed eager to get involved in culinary classes as well as wellness and nutrition classes.
On Wednesday, January 8th, a panel of current high school students visited North and South Middle Schools to inform them on what to expect when preparing for the new Freshman Academy and high school in general. The students were educated on topics such as lunch, electives, parking, credits, school store, AP classes, etc. Towards the end of the presentation, an anonymous student asked, “What is the school store?” Ava Goodale, a sophomore, responded, “It is ala carte on steroids.” Comically, when asked on the survey what the students were most excited for in high school, a student responded with “ala carte on steroids.” Looking into the future, the high school staff and administration will continue their efforts to make the incoming freshmen feel welcomed and accepted at Harrisburg High School.